Red Wings place former first-round pick Evgeny Svechnikov on waivers
Detroit — Is Evgeny Svechnikov’s time as a Red Wing coming to an end?
It might be, as the 2015 first-round pick was put on waivers Monday, as the Wings begin the process of getting down to a 23-man roster and a 4- to 6-man taxi squad.
Players have until noon Tuesday to be claimed. Afterward, they can be assigned to either the NHL ‘s teams taxi squad or to the team’s minor-league affiliate (for the Wings, it would be Grand Rapids).
Svechnikov, 24, was on the ice Monday after injuring his arm in the team’s first intra-squad scrimmage Jan. 5.
Svechnikov has only played in 20 games over three seasons with the Wings, with four points (two goals, two assists).
Svechnikov missed the entire 2018-19 season after tearing an ACL in the Wings’ final exhibition game.
In 51 games with Grand Rapids last season Svechnikov had 11 goals and 14 assists, but struggled overcoming the knee surgery at times.
“He’s had a number of injuries and hasn’t been able to show a full season of where he’s at,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “But we have to make roster decisions and you’re restricted to your roster.”
Whether the Wings actually lose Svechnikov is another matter entirely.
Svechnikov barely has taken part in this training camp, so other teams might be leery of adding someone who may not be ready to play quickly.
There’s also the question of coming off severe knee surgery just two years ago.
And, is Svechnikov better than any of the 12 to 14 forwards a given NHL team presently could roster.
“Nothing is permanent,” Blashill said. “You have that risk of losing guys, but let’s see where we’re at here at noon (Tuesday).”
Two teams to keep an eye on potentially claiming Svechnikov:
► Carolina, where younger brother Andrei Svechnikov stars, and Evgeny mostly trained during the long offseason caused by the pandemic.
► And Edmonton, where former Wings general manager Ken Holland could be interested, having drafted Svechnikov.
Also placed on waivers by the Wings were forwards Riley Barber, Kyle Criscuolo and Dominic Turgeon, defensemen Joe Hicketts, Brian Lashoff and Dylan McIlrath, and goaltenders Kevin Boyle and Calvin Pickard.
Monday’s practice essentially ended training camp — Tuesday is an off day — and what a quick, blur of a camp it was.
With the shortened season and not enough time to have a usual exhibition season, teams were limited to about 10 days of camp and no preseason games.
The Wings, because they failed to qualify for the playoffs, were given three extra days of practice time.
Blashill relished the chance to have more practice time in this different format.
“You get more practice time relative to the amount of time you have,” Blashill said. “In a normal training camp you have those four days at the beginning of camp and start into the exhibition (game) season, and your practices get disjointed and you don’t get to practice with your (likely NHL) group.
“The cons are you don’t get those exhibition games and those games get you ready and are for evaluation.”
Blashill added evaluation not just in terms of personnel, but who plays on what forward lines and defensive pairings, the power play and penalty kill.
“In the end, we tried to be as effective as we could given the parameters that are given,” Blashill said. “Each team is given similar parameters.”
Adam Erne joined Bobby Ryan and Darren Helm as players “unfit to practice”.
It’s doubtful Ryan and Helm will be able to begin the season, given the length of time they’ve been off. Blashill wouldn’t speculate to whether Erne would be ready to practice Wednesday.
… Michael Rasmussen was one of the 12 forwards on the ice for Monday’s practice, and filled Ryan’s spot on the power play on the net-front.
“Raz has had an opportunity to play in that spot the last two (scrimmages) and he’s done a pretty good job,” Blashill said. “That’s his strength, specifically net-front on the power play. That’s probably the biggest reason he was put in that spot and is one of the 12 (forwards).
“Also, I want to take a good, long look at a young, talented player with a big body and as the pace got higher how he reacted.”
… Undrafted free agent Mathias Brome has all but locked a spot on the opening night roster.
Brome is skating on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Sam Gagner.
“He’s been stronger on his skates and more tenacious than I realized when I watched him on tape,” Blashill said of Brome. “ That’s helped him be real effective. When coaches have walked off the bench or walked off the ice they’ve generally said, ‘Brome played pretty well.’”